Could the food on campus be improved?
Thompson Rivers University officials are trying to determine whether to renew the contract of food services company Aramark or go with another provider.
A consultant was hired to study the matter last year in the lead-up to the decision.
TRU's student union told the researcher significant gaps in food services need filling.
"We're very OK if it's Aramark again," said TRUSU president Dustin McIntyre, "but we need someone that caters to the needs of students."
Aramark has provided food on campus since 2003 when it took over from Chartwells. Services consist of two Tim Horton's, a Pita Pit, Heroes Pub and the cafeteria.
Part of the problem, said McIntyre, is that religious dietary needs are not accommodated such as halal, which forbids Muslims from eating pork among other restrictions.
And with the increasingly diverse ethnic student population recruited through TRU World, it's a growing problem.
Other students on campus accept the limited choices, but complain about prices.
"For students, (lower prices) would be good because we're paying tons of money to be here already so it's a tough thing," said Dave Madely, a business student originally from Prince George.
For others, prices don't seem to loom large but limited food selection is an issue.
"The cost seems reasonable because I don't know anyone who gets a free ride," said Alex Cole, a 23-year-old, fourth year forestry student. "But every place offers the same food, coffee and pastries or just a soup."
The limited selection narrows even further when Old Main Building operations close in the middle of the afternoon.
Sarah Corless, an 18-year-old first year tourism student, said she didn't participate in the university's Meal Plan card program this term because of those lack of options.
"There's no dinner, so why have a card?" she said.
Corless said her business communications class has discussed the issue as an exercise in creating a food services proposal to bring to TRU officials.
The consensus showed a certain level of dissatisfaction, she said.
The situation on campus would be worse if the student union building didn't have its café, said McIntyre. It's open until 10 p.m.
Aramark's contract ends in June. TRU put it out to bid in November and a decision has yet to be made.
The company was in the news recently when it was revealed that Toronto's Ryerson University subsidizes Aramark's losses.
Also, Ryerson's student union has to pay 10 per cent of purchases made with Meal Plan cards to the university, which in turn uses the funds to make up for Aramark's losses.
The situation has been criticized since it's seen as using public funds to subsidize a private endeavour.
That's not an issue at TRU, said Christopher Seguin, vice president of advancement, since Aramark does not operate at a loss in Kamloops.